Hopefully, by now I have inspired you to take Linux out for a spin or two. Or maybe I’ve gotten you interested in open source programs. You’re welcome, by the way, for that one. But once you’re interested in open source software, the question really becomes: where can you safely and reliably download it without also potentially downloading something that could be a security risk (or downright malicious) to your computer?
I’d like to say that people have the end user at heart and that you are unlikely to run into those kinds of problems, but that isn’t entirely true. So instead, what I want to do now is focus on a few sites that have been proven reliable and reasonably safe (I cannot guarantee every single link or program on them will be virus, spyware, or malware free, but nothing over the internet is, really. And even if I download it to my home computer with no problems and you download it and somehow get a virus, that doesn’t necessarily mean you got it from the program. It’s also possible someone hacked your computer because of your terrible virus protection, but you attribute it to the program because it was the last thing you downloaded. All of that was a very long winded way to say that I can’t be held responsible for anything you may or may not download off the interwebs.)
- In some cases, the website of a specific company can be super helpful, especially when it is as reputable as Apache. There is a section on their site where you can run through their current projects to get an idea of what they have going on at the moment, get more information on any programs you find interesting, and download anything you decide might be worthwhile. If cloud-based stuff is what you’re looking for, OpenStack has you covered. Their marketplace has a whole bunch of different options, from different OS to included applications.
- There are foundations out there that promote free or open source software. Depending on what you are looking for, you can try one of them. I like the Free Software Foundation’s Directory. They have a huge, clearly categorized system to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. If you want to help a fellow programmer out, or are looking for some free debugging help, check out the projects page at Openhatch. You can find projects sorted by language and listed by amount of bugs. So you can work on something in your area of experience with the work load you’re comfortable with.
- I do find myself on download.com a lot. Mostly because I read cnet, but they have a huge list of open source software on their site. Just remember to scroll past the ads that look like search results at the top.
And there you have it. Some ideas to get you started on your quest to save yourself some money and save yourself some time (if you are looking for productivity software) or waste time (if you’re looking for just about anything else).